Actissia, which owned the Chapitre chain of 57 bookshops in France that collapsed in 2013, is back on track, according to Adrian Diaconu, who bought the company a year ago and took over as chairman in February.
In an interview with French trade publication Livres Hebdo, the Romanian-born Diaconu said he has wiped out the company’s debt of €70m and has turned the shareholder equity of a negative €30m into a positive €20m.
The strategy now is to concentrate on the core activity of books rather than diversification, and to double turnover to between €500m and €600m in the next three years, the same level as five years ago.
The company consists of the book clubs France Loisirs for classics, the Grand Livre du Mois (GLM) for current titles, the 20-year-old e-tailer chapitre.com for reduced price new, secondhand and electronic books, 164 boutiques and sections in 40 bookshops.
France Loisirs was also facing bankruptcy, said Diaconu, who was GLM managing director from 1998 to 2002. France Loisirs’ closure would have been "a catastrophe" for French publishers, especially the small ones for whom the club represents up to 50% of revenue, he added.
Plans are to "revive" the group’s choice of titles, create a segment for children and to launch a television and radio advertising campaign after the summer break to show "we are back."